Santa Anna, Antonio López de

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Santa Anna, Antonio López de

(äntō`nyō lō`pās dā sän`tä ä`nä), 1794–1876, Mexican general and politician. He fought in the royalist army, but later joined IturbideIturbide, Agustín de
, 1783–1824, Mexican revolutionist, emperor of Mexico (1822–23). An officer in the royalist army, he was sympathetic to independence but took no part in the separatist movement led by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, and in fact helped to
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 in the struggle that won independence for Mexico (1821). Santa Anna then entered upon a long and tortuous political career. His actions were governed by opportunism rather than by any fixed principle, and he shifted his allegiance from party to party, his fortunes rising and falling with bewildering rapidity. He led the revolution against Iturbide (1823); aided, then revolted against, Vicente GuerreroGuerrero, Vicente
, 1782–1831, Mexican revolutionist and president (Apr.–Dec., 1829). He fought under the command of Morelos y Pavón, spreading the revolution in the south. Guerrero won victory after victory.
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; and turned against Anastasio BustamanteBustamante, Anastasio
, 1780–1853, Mexican general and president (1830–32, 1837–41). He served in the royalist army against Hidalgo y Costilla and Morelos y Pavón, but his adherence to the Plan of Iguala in support of Agustín de Iturbide was a
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 after helping him to power. His victory over the Spanish when Guerrero was in power gained for him a popularity which he turned into political capital; he was ever afterward "the hero of Tampico." Elected president for a term beginning in 1833, he struggled with the vice president for power and established himself as a reactionary dictator in 1834. He went to Texas to crush the revolution there and became a sort of ogre in American eyes because of the slaughter at the AlamoAlamo, the
[Span.,=cottonwood], building in San Antonio, Tex., "the cradle of Texas liberty." Built as a chapel after 1744, it is all that remains of the mission of San Antonio de Valero, which was founded in 1718 by Franciscans and later converted into a fortress.
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 and the brutality of the massacre at Goliad, which was carried out under his orders. His defeat and capture by Samuel HoustonHouston, Samuel,
1793–1863, American frontier hero and statesman of Texas, b. near Lexington, Va. Early Life

He moved (c.1806) with his family to Tennessee and lived much of his youth with the Cherokee, by whom he was adopted.
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 at San Jacinto (1836) put a temporary halt to his political career in Mexico, but his shrewd political sense, aided by the accident of losing a leg in an attempt to repulse the French at Veracruz (1838), restored his prestige. Driven from power after a wasteful, corrupt presidential administration (1841–44), he returned from exile—with U.S. aid apparently—and again became president (1846–47). He commanded in the Mexican War, but his defeats at Buena Vista, Cerro Gordo, and Puebla and the loss of Mexico City sent him again into exile. He returned and ruled (after Dec., 1853) as "perpetual dictator" until the revolution of AyutlaAyutla
, town (1990 pop. 6,214), Guerrero state, S Mexico. Its full name is Ayutla de los Libres [Ayutla of the free]. It is the commercial center for an agricultural, cattle-raising, and lumbering area.
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 again drove him into exile (1855) and brought Benito JuárezJuárez, Benito
, 1806–72, Mexican liberal statesman and national hero. Revered by Mexicans as one of their greatest political figures, Juárez, with great moral courage and honesty, upheld the civil law and opposed the privileges of the clericals and the army.
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 to the fore. After several attempts, he was allowed to return to Mexico (1874).


See his memoirs, Mi historia militar y política (1905); his autobiography (ed. by A. F. Crawford, 1988); biographies by W. H. Callcott (1936, repr. 1968) and O. L. Jones (1968); R. G. Santos, Santa Anna's Campaign Against Texas 1835–1836 (1968).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Santa Anna, Antonio López de


Born Feb. 21, 1795, in Jalapa, state of Veracruz; died June 21, 1876, in Mexico City. Mexican statesman and politician. General. Son of an officer of the colonial army.

Santa Anna was president of Mexico from 1833 to 1835, 1841 to 1844, 1846 to 1847, and 1853 to 1855. In the 1830’s and 1840’s, during the US military invasion of Mexico, he proved to be an incompetent military commander and an unprincipled politician. In 1836 the army under his command suffered several defeats in Texas, where Santa Anna was captured by the Americans. He played a treasonable role in the war between the USA and Mexico of 1846–48. Santa Anna concluded the Gadsden Treaty of 1853, according to which about 120,000 sq km of Mexican territory was sold to the USA. The revolution that started in 1854 put an end to Santa Anna’s political career, and in 1855 he was overthrown as president. He lived in Colombia, Venezuela, and the USA from 1855 to 1874 and then returned to Mexico.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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